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Identify a needlework tool?

PlanoSmocker | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I was given my grandmother’s needlework supplies and tools.  Most of her needlework was done between around 1900 and the late 1950’s.  I hope someone can tell me how one of them is used.

It is made of two pieces of wood 5 3/4″ long by 1/2″ thick.  About 3 1/2″ of one end of the each of the two pieces is about 7/16″ wide.  The other end of each piece is curved (as though shaped for gripping comfortably) with a maximum width of 1 3/8″.  The two pieces are held together with two metal straps about 3/8″ wide.  One is attached to the first piece of wood with two tiny nails on each side about 1 1/2″ from the narrow end (the metal wraps around the narrow end of the second piece of wood).  The first piece of wood has a 3 1/2″ slot a generous 1/8″ from the edge nearest the second piece of wood.  The metal strap attached to the second piece slides through this slot in the first piece.  At the small end of each piece, there are pieces of metal attached in grooves facing each other.  The first piece has a rectangular piece of metal  about 1/8″ wide laying in the groove and extending 5/8″ beyond the end of the wood.  The second has a wider slightly u-shaped (the metal in the first piece slides between points of the u) that extends 1 1/8″ beyond the end of the wood to a bluntly pointed tip.  About 3/8″ from the tip, there is an oval-shaped hole a little smaller than 1/8″ x 1/4″.

My aunt thinks Grandma may have used the tool in candlewicking.  As known to our family, candlewicking was creating a fabric similar to chenille by taking running stitches on muslin with a 12-ply cotton thread, then cutting each long stitch on the right side of the fabric.



  1. Jean | | #1

    Could you post a picture?

    1. PlanoSmocker | | #2

      Thanks for your reply.  I will attach photos.

      1. Jean | | #3

        Very interesting!  It looks to me like a variation on a tool used to do punch needle work. This one might be for rug making. The needle makes  the same sized loop of yarn or fabric (you are working from the underside of the backing). The wooden part evidently controls the depth of the loop and is adjustable. 

        1. PlanoSmocker | | #4

          Thanks for the reply.  I am not familiar with punch needle work but will look into it.

          1. mimi | | #7

            Could you be holding it horizontally when it needs to be vertical?  It looks as if the metal prong would go into a table with a screw or prong holding it stable. It would then be holding the wood upright, lending an extra hand.

            Of course, I'm only guessing!  There are probably antique needlework sites on the web that could give you a better answer.


      2. katina | | #5

        Hello Rebecca

        This is a latch hook, used for making hooked rugs.

        1. Jean | | #6

          No, this is a latch hook.

          View Image

          1. katina | | #8

            In "Rag Rugs" by Juju Vail, it's identified as a shuttle hook; used on the wrong side of the rug to perform a 'hooking' function.

          2. PlanoSmocker | | #9

            My thanks to all who have replied to my message.  A tool for rugmaking makes sense to me based on the size and shape of the tool and the way the two wooden pieces appear to be designed to be moved in opposite directions as though placing a tuft in a rug. 

          3. pcraine | | #10

            If you're interested in learning how to use, I can recommend Nordic Needle for supplies and insturctions.   They carry fibers, supplies and tools for virtually every type of needlwork known to humankind.



          4. PlanoSmocker | | #11

            Thank you for the suggestion.  I have purchased huck toweling and other supplies from Nordic in the past, but it hadn't occurred to me to inquire there about the tool.

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